Guest Column: Why I Support Parental Rights In Education

Guest columnist Rep. Jeanette Ward writes, "Building trust and a partnership between parents and schools is a good thing, and it requires protecting the rights of parents to direct the upbringing of their kids."

CSD Staff

June 14, 20244 min read

Rep. Jeanette Ward, R-Casper.
Rep. Jeanette Ward, R-Casper. (Matt Idler for Cowboy State Daily)

The Natrona County School District Board of Trustees met on Monday to discuss a proposed board policy relating to parental rights. 

During the public comment period, one Casper resident derided the policy and claimed that “Moms for Liberty and the Freedom Caucus want to destroy public education.” 

A kindergarten teacher and the National Education Association (NEA) head for Wyoming argued that the policy would “create a barrier between educators… and their students,” “violate the rights of students,” and “push students away when those students need [their teachers] the most.” He also argued that some are “about local control until [they] aren’t.” 

As a proud member of the Wyoming Freedom Caucus and of Moms for Liberty, I have to say it: Enough with the histrionics – also, the most local control of all is PARENTS. 

The same NEA that worked behind the scenes with Dr. Fauci to keep public schools shut down at the expense of student mental health and academic achievement and which has spent over $200 million in left-wing political races and causes over the last 20 years also believes that parents create an impermissible “barrier” between public school employees and their own kids – oh,  and argues for lessons in “gender identity and sexual orientation” for Casper kindergartners. 

The NEA has become more of a hyper-partisan political action committee at the expense of our good teachers who just want to teach – not become political pawns in their game. 

But I digress. 

The policy is pretty simple. It requires school personnel to let parents know before their kids are given wellness screenings and to provide notice to parents prior to classroom instruction in sexual orientation and gender identity. 

It also requires school staff to let parents know when there is a change in their child’s mental health or well-being. 

If bolstering the fundamental and constitutionally protected rights of parents will “destroy public schools,” then things are worse than I thought. But I trust that they’re not. Again, it’s political histrionics. 

My school district, along with others around the State, are promulgating similar policies as a result of the Wyoming Legislature’s passage of Senate File 9 (Parental Rights in Education) last session, which instructs school districts to ensure that the fundamental rights of parents are not violated.

A similar bill was introduced in 2022 but was defeated by lawmakers who alleged that parental rights aren’t being violated in Wyoming, “that’s not happening here” as their rallying cry. 

Shortly after the 2022 bill was dumped, parents in Sweetwater County alleged serious violations of their parental rights at the hands of district personnel who socially transitioned their daughter without their knowledge. 

As a proponent of the law and a witness to its passage through the Wyoming Legislature, I can say with certainty its support this time around was greatly enhanced by the situation in Sweetwater County.

One legislator from the southwest corner of the State made that clear during debate, calling the incident “the heart of the bill.” 

That’s why I advocated to my school board that the policy be more precise in its requirement that school personnel notify parents of changes in their kids’ mental health and well-being to make clear that when a child expresses a desire to be referred to by a different name or pronouns, parents should be involved. 

Building trust and a partnership between parents and schools is a good thing, and it requires protecting the rights of parents to direct the upbringing of their kids.

Conservatives don’t want to destroy public schoolsIf the NEA’s Randi Weingarten or Rachel Maddow or anyone else suggests that, they’re lying to you for political gain. 

The NEA and their affiliate Wyoming Education Association, though, seem determined to do just that by injecting unpopular and radical political ideology into schools at every opportunity. 

Rep. Jeanette Ward represents House District 57 in Casper.

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CSD Staff